Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Côte d’Azur, is a beach so scenic that it’s well worth a detour: Paloma beach.
Despite strong competition from beaches in tourist magnets Cannes, Nice and Saint-Tropez, Paloma Beach is considered to be one of the best French Riviera beaches.
So, what’s the je-ne-sais-quoi that has earned Paloma Beach that status? And does it live up to its reputation?
We recently spent another lazy afternoon at Paloma Beach – not our first and certainly not our last. Now we can’t wait to share with you what we love so much about this iconic beach.
Here’s everything you need to know about Paloma Beach.
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Where is Paloma beach located?
Paloma beach is located in the South of France. It’s the most scenic beach of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, tucked away in Scaletta cove and overlooking the bay of Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
Find out more about this sophisticated peninsula in our dedicated on the top things to do in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
What’s so special about Paloma beach?
Paloma beach, or Plage de la Paloma, is a timeless classic. Its popularity started shortly after WWII when some of the most renowned artists retreated to this tranquil part of the French Riviera. Even the name of the beach refers to that era: Paloma was the daughter of Pablo Picasso. The artist’s family spent so many precious moments at this very beach that it was named after her.
The secluded setting in a sheltered bay hugged by pine-covered hills is truly postcard-pretty. The views from Paloma beach over the Saint-Hospice gulf, also known as the bay of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, are priceless. Where the bay meets the cove, you’ll find many luxury yachts at anchor.
Despite what you may expect from this iconic beach, the 150m-long Paloma beach is not sandy but covered in gravel-sized pebbles. The waters are crystal-clear and the waves are nice and gentle. The hills that surround Paloma beach, shelter it from the wind.
Paloma beach faces the north. As a result, the westernmost part of the beach is the one that gets the first evening shade.
It’s a semi-public beach, which means that part of it is public and part of it private. The beach club, aptly named Paloma beach, occupies the middle section of this gorgeous beach. The beach club is just as iconic as the beach itself, it’s an institution that has been around since 1948.
The private beach with sun loungers is open every day. At the time of writing this article, sun loungers are priced at €50 for a day. Water sports, such as jet skiing, parasailing, paddle boarding, and electric surfoil, are available.
As is the case for all private beaches on the French Riviera, lifeguarded are on duty daily from mid-May to mid-September.
The restaurant offers non-stop service every day from May to September. There’s a tender boat shuttling between the anchored yachts and the Paloma Beach club as well as a shuttle service from town and evening valet parking.
The atmosphere is worlds apart from the beach clubs in Saint-Tropez. It’s intimate and understated with a dash of chic just like the beach itself.
How to get to Paloma beach?
To get from Nice to Paloma beach by bus, take either of the following bus lines:
- Line 15 from stop Promenades des Arts – Risso or from stop Port Lympia – Arson in Nice to stop Port de Saint-Jean.
- Line 100 from stop Le Port in Nice to stop Baie des Fourmis in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. From there, follow the coastal trail for 45 minutes to Paloma beach.
Alternatively, you can take the train from Nice to Beaulieu-sur-Mer and walk along the aforementioned coastal path. Looking for timetables and rates? Check Eurail (non-EU passport holders) or Interrail (EU passport holders).
Alternatively, you can rent an e-bike at one of the VéloBleu bike sharing stations in Nice? More and more of these self-service stations allow you to rent a bike with a swipe your credit card. The concierge or receptionist of your hotel in Nice can assist you in finding the bike stations that offer this option.
While the Nice to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat drive only takes about 20 minutes, we’d only recommend heading there by car if you’re visiting in shoulder season. When entering Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, there’s only one main road. Plus, parking is extremely limited, especially in summer.
In case you’d prefer to drive, after all, then we warmly recommend Discover Cars. It’s our go-to European car rental comparison site. The prices are highly competitive, the booking process is effortless and you can even select a “pay later” option that comes with free cancelation. Click here to get the best car rental deal.
Other beaches in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Other gorgeous Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat beaches include Fossettes beach, Fosses beach, Passable beach, and Cros dei Pin beach.
Fossettes beach and Fosses beach are two scenic south-facing beaches located just steps away from Paloma beach.
Passable beach can be found on the west coast, facing the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer. It’s also the beach closest to the iconic Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
Cros dei Pin beach is located on the east coast of the peninsula and is located steps away from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat village. It may look idyllic but it’s certainly not our favorite beach. The last time we visited, the waters were very littered. An inevitable result of the proximity of the marina.
Where to stay in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat?
While a visit to Paloma beach makes for an excellent day trip from Nice, you could just as well choose to spend more time in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. It offers a fabulous setting for a chic getaway.
There are no Paloma beach hotels or resorts. It’s the sheltered and intimate location that makes Paloma beach so alluring after all. But Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is so compact that you’ll find several accommodation options within walking distance.
Hotel inventory on the peninsula is limited and the available hotels are among the most exclusive on the French Riviera. Then again, this is the kind of place that’s well worth a splurge. Here’s an overview of the best places to stay near Paloma beach.
Et voilà, that concludes our Paloma beach guide. If you’re planning a trip to the Côte d’Azur, then make sure to include this fabulous beach in your French Riviera itinerary. It’s the perfect place to relax between two sightseeing stops.